As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, as well as other news of the day, we’re pleased to publish this daily digest compiled by BillMoyers.com’s Michael Winship.
Setback for campaign finance reform –> Important story from Nick Confessore at The New York Times: “Democrats are laying the groundwork for an ambitious reorganization of their struggling network of ‘super PACs’ that would exploit the loopholes and legal gray areas that Republicans have already used to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for the 2016 campaign through such groups… In seeking the [Federal Election Commission’s] guidance on the tactics, Democrats contend that most of the activities their request describes — like having a candidate pretend to ‘test the waters’ of a candidacy for months on end while raising money — appear to violate the law.”
Bernie at Liberty –> Bernie Sanders made his much anticipated speech Monday at Liberty University, the school founded by Christian fundamentalist Jerry Falwell. “There is no justice when, in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires while, at the same time, the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on Earth,” Sanders told the students. “How can we talk about morality, about justice, when we turn our backs on the children of our country?”
At the Campaign for America’s Future blog, Isaiah J. Poole writes, “Sanders also challenged people who fight for ‘the protection of the unborn’ to join him in the fight against threats to the already-born as a result of budget decisions being made by Republicans in Congress, such as proposals that he said would cause 27 million people to lose access to health care, cut billions of dollars in foods assistance to low-income families and cut funding for college aid for low-income students by $90 billion – while giving $250 billion in tax relief over the next 10 years to the top 0.2 percent of wealth holders. ‘I don’t think that’s a moral budget,’ he said.”
Scott Walker made a speech, too –> In which he announced his plans to take nationwide the union-busting he has foisted on Wisconsin. Jamelle Bouie reports at Slate, “Walker is open in his disdain for unions and frank with his commitment to conservative economic ideology, going beyond his competitors with a sweeping attack on the political and institutional foundations of American labor unions that tilts government against them and toward the interests of employers and large corporations.” AND, John Nichols at The Nation: “Walker is a bad bet for workers. But Walker’s latest gamble is also a bad bet for Walker. The American people simply are not as anti-union as the governor’s active imagination tells him they are.”
What America owes Syria’s refugees –> Phyllis Bennis writes at Foreign Policy in Focus, “The Syrian war — and particularly the rise of ISIS — has everything to do with U.S. actions dating back to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, which gave rise to ISIS in the first place. Even now the U.S. airstrikes in Syria and neighboring Iraq are escalating the war in both places.
“So emergency responses, particularly from the United States, need to start — though they must not end — with Syria. The Obama administration’s decision to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country next year is a welcome step, but not remotely adequate.”
Meanwhile, “EU ministers failed to reach agreement Monday on a quota plan.” (Agence France-Presse via Raw Story)
Drier than dust –> “Researchers knew California’s drought was already a record breaker when they set out to find its exact place in history,” Darryl Fears at The Washington Post reports, “but they were surprised by what they discovered: It has been 500 years since what is now the Golden State has been this dry. California is in the fourth year of a severe drought with temperatures so high and precipitation so low that rain and snow evaporate almost as soon as they hit the ground.”
Must read –> From Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic: “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” He writes, “Mass incarceration is, ultimately, a problem of troublesome entanglements. To war seriously against the disparity in unfreedom requires a war against a disparity in resources. And to war against a disparity in resources is to confront a history in which both the plunder and the mass incarceration of blacks are accepted commonplaces. Our current debate over criminal-justice reform pretends that it is possible to disentangle ourselves without significantly disturbing the other aspects of our lives, that one can extract the thread of mass incarceration from the larger tapestry of racist American policy.”
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